Tuesday, March 11, 2008

At least the show sounds okay, maybe

My brother sent me this article because he thought it would enrage me. He was right.
TLC has found one more untapped fantasy—at least for mothers. We're not talking about "The Manny." No, this is the one where you're a woman who's been home with your kids so long that you can't remember the last time you wore hard-soled shoes. Then someone (say, former sitcom star Tracey Gold) comes by and says, "Hey, you know how you always wanted to be a fashion designer, cop or chef? Well, we'll give you a week to try it out—without your family knowing. Then at the end of the week you get to choose whether to restart your career or stay home. And guess what: your kids and husband will support you either way."

Sounds dreamy, right? Well, not to everyone. If the initial reaction to the "Secret Life of a Soccer Mom," (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET) is any indication, TLC has struck one of the rawest nerves of parenting. In the show's March 3 premier Adrian Stark, a mother of three girls in suburban California, decides to go back to work full-time as a high fashion designer after 10 years at home. Stark's daughters are awestruck by the gowns she makes, and when she's offered a job, her physician husband gets teary with joy: "I'm seeing Adrian get something that I have been unable to give her, which is completeness."

This family is so sweet it makes your teeth ache. But as soon as the show aired, TLC's online message boards were jammed with comments from women outraged that Adrian would choose a career over being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM in parent lingo). The posts said the premise of the show is "sick" and Adrian is "selfish." One mom wrote, "Let's show the other side of the story … how the kids' world is going to be turned upside down by having to go to day care." Another woman goes even further: "Unless you're about to starve there is no reason for you to be at work. If you didn't want to raise your children, you should not have had them. It's child abandonment."

Adrian's wish to fill a missing creative void raised even more hackles: "Could any more feminist crap be shoved down our throats? The idea that you need a career to be complete? How about feeling complete by parenting your kids the right way?" And even if you agree with the mothers who support Adrian's choice to offer her daughters a career role model, you can see why some SAHMs might be a little miffed by a program that opens with a song whose lyrics include "time to lose the minivan..."

Yes! How dare a woman choose to live her life differently from how I choose she should live her life!

And yes, damn those feminists who think that women are people capable of living their own lives and thinking for themselves instead of tools to be used to raise the next generation of men! Next thing you know, those liberal Hollywood feminists will try to teach us that women can enjoy sex, too, or that they can learn math without their brains overheating!

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